In the Gospel of Matthew, we read that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where he fasted and prayed for “forty days and forty nights” (Matthew 4:2). What Jesus did was not something new. It was in fact part of an ancient tradition found throughout the Old Testament that included some of the most well-known prophets of Israel.
Here are three other biblical characters who, inspired by God, spent forty days in solitude and prayer.
As the season of Lent approaches, it’s most appropriate to “put on the armor of God” and ask for divine protection in this regard. The saints and angels that surround us are ready to come to our aid and shield us from the buffets of this world.
Below is a traditional prayer that can be prayed for this particular intention.
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body. And through the intercession of the blessed and glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of God, of St. Joseph, of Thy Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy loving kindness grant us safety and peace; that, all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.
All of us know someone in our lives, whether a friend or family member, who is trying to stay far from God. As much as we wish to influence them through our words or actions, they persist in shutting God out.
Our last resort (which should also be our first resort) is to pray for that individual, asking God to shower down his graces upon him or her.
One way to do that is to pray the following prayer revealed to St. Faustina by Jesus Christ himself. She experienced many mystical visions of Jesus and in one of them, he suggests the following.
Both shared a love of the Catholic faith and so it wasn’t a surprise that Charles proposed to Zita inside the Basilica of the Birth of the Virgin Mary (also known as the Mariazell Shrine) in Austria. They loved the Virgin Mary and made it a point to start their marriage off under her protection.
Charles and Zita had their wedding rings inscribed with a prayer in Latin: “Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix” (“We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God”). It is the beginning of an ancient prayer to the Virgin Mary that expresses a desire to remain under the loving gaze of the Blessed Mother.
After leading a life of sin, Romuald fled the world and became a monk, but was not satisfied with the rigors of the community. He joined a Benedictine monastery, but then traveled around Italy, reforming monasteries and hermitages. He eventually settled down and established a monastery that would later be known as the Camaldolese order.
Romuald left a “Brief Rule” that is simple, yet profound. It can help us in our prayer life and lead to interior peace.
It is said that St. Brendan would frequently visit St. Ita, even after he left the school and began to explore the world around Ireland. On one such occasion St. Brendan asked Ita what three things God loved the most.
She replied, “True faith in God and a pure heart, a simple life with a religious spirit and open-handedness inspired by charity.”
He then asked her what things God hated the most.
Our spiritual life naturally entails a certain “spiritual combat,” whereby we engage in battle against the dark spiritual forces of this world.
St. Paul put it clearly in his letter to the Ephesians, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
However, it’s not always easy to know how to engage in this spiritual fight.
6:00 pm (St. James)
8:00 am (St. Michael)
10:00 am (St. Paul)
(St. Paul) 8:30 am: Tues. - Fri.
(St. Paul) 8:00 am: First Friday
(Extraordinary Form Latin Mass)
Friday: (St. Paul) 7:30 am
Saturday: (St. James) 5:30 pm
Sunday: (St. Michael) 7:30 am
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